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Minivans - Domestic or Foreign

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Comments

  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    Not exactly. The Infiniti I35 problems forum is practically dead. (Goes to show how reliable that thing is, right? :) )
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    Depending on your budget I would look at:
    1. Toyota Sienna CE (you get Toyota reliability and all, just without the bells and whistles of the higher end models, plus, at $24,000ish I think they represent a pretty good buy)

    2. Pre-Owned Ford Freestar SES because they depreciate like a rock, you get not great mileage but certainly better mileage than the Sedona (17/23) and you get some features like the fold flat third row that you can't get on the Sedona. Also, CR says that the Freestar/Mercury Monterey have "average" reliability, whatever that means. Used Freestars on our side of the border in my area are around $15,000.

    3. Mazda MPV LX because it's not terribly expensive and the other posters here seem to like it :)

    And Finally...
    4. If your budget allows, I would recommend the Honda Odyssey LX. You get Honda quality (sometimes a good thing, sometimes not so great) all the latest safety features and a split folding third row.
  • temp409temp409 Posts: 55
    If someone could test the straps of a 2001 caravan I would love to know for sure, I did report it to the NHTSA maybe Ill test drive a used one on a hill and put my husband in the back slam on brakes on a hill and just see if it will catch. If it is a floating thing in the rear that should catch then right? Maybe it didn't catch because we were only going about 35 and almost got stopped befour we hit the car in front of us. Im almost certain that all durango and caravans just have something faulty in rear catching mechanisms they do all the same way. I wish SOMEONE would test them for me. Mine was totaled so I can't test mine they say it cost over $2000 just to put the air bags back in caravan. I love my KIA today:D love them seatbelts they catch even when you lean up fast.:D Got the 2005 Kia for $16,5000 with 5 yr bumper to bumper with road side assitance plus 20 yr. 200,000 mile powertrain warranty so if it is a piece of junk who cares they are fixing it:D 5 star crash test rating too:D
  • cpsdarrencpsdarren Posts: 265
    If this is an emergency locking retractor that is engaged by sudden deceleration, it may not be possible for anyone to test it safely.

    You might find a dealer or other body shop that is able to test such a retractor. There may also be independent experts that can even verify a failed retractor after a crash. A google search for something like "seatbelt lawyer" would probably turn up numerous agencies with expertise and referrals if you believe injuries were caused by a related defect.

    In any case, I guarantee that the normal operation of your seatbelts is to lock the retractor in a crash. If yours didn't lock in a crash where they should have locked, then it is most likely an uncommon defect or a broken mechanism. If there was any kind of widespread problem of this nature that covered a whole model year of a poplular vehicle (or more), there would be much more publicity and many more deaths and serious injuries than from the Gen3 seatbelt buckle release problem.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Why can't you just drop the experience with the 2001 Caravan and move on? Millions of people are completely satisfied with their Caravan/Grand Caravan/etc.
    Are you trying to convince yourself that the Kia Sedona was a wise purchase?
  • 97xpresso97xpresso Posts: 249
    "plus 20 yr. 200,000 mile powertrain warranty so if it is a piece of junk who cares they are fixing it:"

    Read the Kia Sedona Problems Forum and see how well Kia honors their 10/100,000 warranty. Even if they did fix the "piece of junk" for free without giving you the run-around, How often can you bring it to the dealer, how many days can you go without use of your vehicle?
    Why are there so many new 2005 Kia Sedona's still sitting on the dealers lots with give-away pricing and huge warranties?
  • temp409temp409 Posts: 55
    Why can't you just drop the experience with the 2001 Caravan and move on? Well,
    I just bet if its your kids face you would have trouble MOVING ON yourself. and no Im not trying to convince myself about a Kia, don't you care if there are seatbelts that are useless, I just bet your kids who have to ride there care. I already KNOW the seatbelts are useless been there and learned by wrecking ours.
  • temp409temp409 Posts: 55
    VEHICLE DESCRIPTION: CERTAIN VAN, WAGON, PICKUP TRUCKS, PASSENGER AND SPORT UTILITY VEHICLES, FAIL TO COMPLY WITH REQUIREMENTS OF FMVSS NO. 209, "SEAT BELT ASSEMBLIES." THE FRONT SEAT BELT RETRACTOR MAY NOT COMPLY WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE STANDARD.
    Consequences IF THE RETRACTOR DOES NOT WORK PROPERLY, IT WILL NOT ADEQUATELY PROTECT OCCUPANTS IN THE EVENT OF A CRASH.
    Corrective Action DEALERS WILL REPLACE THE SEAT BELT RETRACTOR. OWNER NOTIFICATION BEGAN AUGUST 20, 2001. OWNERS WHO TAKE THEIR VEHICLES TO AN AUTHORIZED DEALER ON AN AGREED UPON SERVICE DATE AND DO NOT RECEIVE THE FREE REMEDY WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME SHOULD CONTACT DAIMLERCHRYSLER AT 1-800-853-1403
    Hmmm they must of recalled it secretly cause this is the first Ive heard of it Just found this surfing the net.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    AND the recall was for the FRONT seat belt retractor.
    Wasn't your daughter in a rear seat?
  • temp409temp409 Posts: 55
    She was behind drivers seat. Just goes to show ya even if yours are defective you won't know it until you wreck and it gets tested I guess. Our front straps which might apply to that recall work excellent caught me and her dad perfectly, NONE of our 4 rear shoulder straps would catch. Your best bet is just jerk them, all fords that I tried catch all of my kias catch just seems like common logic if they don't catch when you jerk them they won't catch when your body jerks them although I realize some are floating and if ours was then it was useless anyway at 35mph crash.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    Congrats on your Sedona by the way. I think it's an excellent choice. (albeit there are many excellent choices in the minivan market :D )
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,233
    Until you comprehend/accept the fact that NOT ALL SEAT BELTS WILL CATCH WHEN YOU JERK THEM, your common logic doesn't stand a chance. And yes, it's very likely that the front seat belts are of a different design than the rears. On the Honda Odysseys, the front have completely different seat-belt system (pretensioners) than the rears.

    The fact is, YOUR seatbelts in YOUR van were faulty. And I agree, it is very likely that you'll never know if your seatbelts are faulty until you have an accident. It's possible your jerk-type seat-belts could break right at the point of impact. Who knows. You can only protect yourself to a certain extent, the rest is luck or lack thereof. I'm sorry your vehicle was defective and your daughter was hurt. Sometimes poop happens and it sucks, but passing on false imformation isn't going to help anyone. If anything, I'd recommend anyone with a vehicle over a few years old find out how to test your seatbelts to see if they're working properly.
  • cpsdarrencpsdarren Posts: 265
    VEHICLE DESCRIPTION: CERTAIN VAN, WAGON, PICKUP TRUCKS, PASSENGER AND SPORT UTILITY VEHICLES, FAIL TO COMPLY WITH REQUIREMENTS OF FMVSS NO. 209, "SEAT BELT ASSEMBLIES."

    The manufacturer will know the exact models, years and serial numbers affected. You should call that number to verify that yours was one of them. For example, this one appears to only affect MY 1999 vehicles.

    If you found it on the NHTSA website, it clearly wasn't a "secret" recall. In fact, the recall stated that owner notification began on August 20, 2001. If your model was affected and you weren't notified, it was probably an issue with lost mail or an incorrect address.

    Incidentally, one reason you may have different retrator types in your vehicle is because you probably have pre-tensioners and/or force limiters in the front seatbelt systems but not the rear ones. It may simply be cheaper or easier to use a different retractor system when a pre-tensioner is present.

    Given your claims and conviction, I strongly suggest you find an experienced law firm that deals in vehicle safety issues. Discussing the details here might not be a great idea if you have a legitimate lawsuit and the vehicle manufacturer was at fault.
  • ClairesClaires Chicago areaPosts: 979
    It's clear that we don't know what sort of system is employed in the rear restraints of this vehicle, but we've all been advised of this particular incident, and a number of good suggestions have been offered. Although I haven't seen a filing about it at the NHTSA site, I'm hopeful that it'll be reported there as well. Having done all we can, discussing it further here seems to be bogging things down, so let's move on.

    MODERATOR
    Need help getting around? claires@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • temp409temp409 Posts: 55
    ALL 6 shoulder straps of the odyssey catch first jerk so does- Toyota sienna's- Which I loved the best but at $30,000-I can't afford it. Dodge & Toyota rode the best then Kia then Honda Odyssey rode the worse. I chose Kia because of the working seatbelts good price 16,500 plus excellent warranty. So you can see- I have MOVED ON down the road with my working seatbelts, I just wish all little children could have the same. If every van I tested seatbelts work first jerk why don't the Dodge caravan do the same as all others on the rear straps? Also I did post at the NHTSA- office of defects Investigation-- on 3/11/2006.
  • mrblonde49mrblonde49 Posts: 626
    5 star crash test rating too:D <<

    I think all the new vans have 5 stars
  • temp409temp409 Posts: 55
    I can not find where any crash test are done with pictures or information about if they put crash test dummys in rear seats when crash testing for front crash in vans. Can anyone? All new vans rate 5 star but msn autos rates 2001 caravan I had Poor in almost all categorys of crash testing. Im thinking for crash test frontal there are only dummies in the front seats, is that so?
  • cpsdarrencpsdarren Posts: 265
    "ALL 6 shoulder straps of the odyssey catch first jerk so does- Toyota sienna's- Which I loved the best but at $30,000-I can't afford it."

    You can get a Sienna CE for well under $25,000. A nicely equipped LE is well under $30,000.

    "If every van I tested seatbelts work first jerk why don't the Dodge caravan do the same as all others on the rear straps?"

    As has been explained numerous times in various forums, there are different types of retractors. Sometimes, different types are even used in the same vehicle. Being able to lock the retractor with a jerk is only a valid test of one type.

    That said, the switchable locking retractors in the Odyssey and Sienna can come in very handy for child restraint installation. Between the seatbelt mechanisms and locations, carseat installs in the third row of current generation Chrysler vans also tend to be more difficult than the others, in my experience.
  • cpsdarrencpsdarren Posts: 265
    "I can not find where any crash test are done with pictures or information about if they put crash test dummys in rear seats when crash testing for front crash in vans. Can anyone? All new vans rate 5 star but msn autos rates 2001 caravan I had Poor in almost all categorys of crash testing. Im thinking for crash test frontal there are only dummies in the front seats, is that so?"

    MSN Autos does not perform crash tests. You need to go directly to www.safercar.gov and www.iihs.org to find explanations of the testing done in the USA.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "I chose Kia because of the working seatbelts good price 16,500 plus excellent warranty."

    All vehicles sold new are designed to have working seatbelts, that includes the Dodge vans.

    "If every van I tested seatbelts work first jerk why don't the Dodge caravan do the same as all others on the rear straps?"

    Ummmm, perhaps because they have a DIFFERENT TYPE OF LOCKING MECHANISM?????

    A seatbelt which passes a 'jerk' test tells you two things:
    First, that it has a centrifugal-type of locking mechanism in the reel. Second, it is apparently functioning.

    A seatbelt which fails a 'jerk' test tells you NOTHING. Zip. Nada. You can't make ANY conclusions about a seatbelt which fails this test.
  • temp409temp409 Posts: 55
    So all kia sedonnas work first jerk all toyota sienna work first jerk all ford winstar work first jerk all of honda odyssey work first jerk, and well then the ONLY ones that dont in the mini van world are-(dodge caravan) and my daughter has her face smashed- isn't that enough for some people to come to the conclusion that the only ones that FAIL the jerk test ALSO fail the wreck test. It failed for us but somehow you think it may magically work for you? Thats a big risk my daughter could have died.
  • ishanbishanb Posts: 5
    Please, let's move on. temp409 either can't or won't accept the explanation that the Dodge Caravan may use a different type of seatbelt tensioner system for the rear seats compared to the front and that testing with a "jerk" is not appropriate for certain kind of tensioner systems.

    Enough already.
  • boxwrenchboxwrench Posts: 55
    temp409

    You failed to mention in all your posts about seatbelts if the air bag(s) deployed in your crash? I'm assuming your DC was a '91 or newer. Just curious that in 35mph frontal crash, the air bag should have deployed.
    Some how I survived over 55 years of driving and a lot of those years were without SEAT BELTS, Air Bags, Stability Control, and a lot of other safety things that are on cars nowadays. Maybe it's because we didn't drive as FAST at today's drivers. 'Course, there were fewer cars on the road then, but also many more 2-lane roads, and not many 4-lanes.

    Hope your Daughter is improving everyday. I'm sure when it is her turn to start driving, she will remember the accident, and be a SAFE driver.

    Regards
    Boxwrench
  • vbhvbh Posts: 3
    SEEKING INFO:
    (1) 2007 model Odyssey or Sienna: Are these vans going to have the T & C middle seat fold-away capability?
    (2) Any after-market protective liner (or such like)to attach to mid & rear seats for the folded-down seat position?
    Purpose is to protect seats when van used to haul materials and they are shoved/pushed into "cargo" space.
    Thanks. Mark
  • temp409temp409 Posts: 55
    It crushed in the the front drivers corner airbags worked perfect front seatbelts worked perfect. I loved that van would of never wanted another until we wrecked and she was hurt so bad for NO GOOD REASON we were only going about 35 and skidded about 15 or 20 ft befour hitting.If anyone should of gotten hurt I would of thought it would have been me or her dad up front thats the only part that got any damage but because the lap belt held and her shoulder belt didn't is why only her face and head got hurt on that handle on back of drivers seat. But yep thank God shes doing well now. I don't think its a dirty secret you shouldn't talk about if seatbelts are not working but it seems some do. Any of you guys work for Dodge or something? lol Im not going to suit you so chill out, just fix the faulty rear catching mechanisms in your rear shoulder belts! Then Ill stop whineing.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Neither Honda nor Toyota release advance information. :cry:
  • 97xpresso97xpresso Posts: 249
    As long as people reply to your repetitive posts, you won't stop whineing. Have you contacted an attorney? You have a solid case if your seatbelts were defective. I don't think you will though, because you're afraid you might be wrong.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    On the Grand Caravan/Town and Country DaimlerChrysler twins, when the second row seats are folded into the floor they are completely covered and protected by a separate cover which also covers up the wells and acts as the floor when the seats are not folded down. I don't know of any need for more protection for the seats than that.

    For further protection you could also add additional floor mats, I suppose.

    On our 1996 Caravan which, of course, does not have any seats that fold into the floor, I used black 36" wide vinyl carpet runner to make custom fit mats for the second and third rows. This approach has the advantage that this carpet runner material can easily be cut with a scissors to fit around the seat supports which holds the mat in place nicely and also provides a "wall to wall" mat that protects the carpet completely, unlike aftermarket and OEM mats which are always skimpy and ill fitting. This vinyl matting material is quite inexpensive as well. Can usually be purchased at most big box hardware/lumberyards like Home Depot, Lowes and Menards.
  • cpsdarrencpsdarren Posts: 265
    "Some how I survived over 55 years of driving and a lot of those years were without SEAT BELTS, Air Bags, Stability Control, and a lot of other safety things that are on cars nowadays. Maybe it's because we didn't drive as FAST at today's drivers. 'Course, there were fewer cars on the road then, but also many more 2-lane roads, and not many 4-lanes."

    Consider yourself lucky, like me. Motor vehicle crashes remain the #1 cause of death for kids 1-14 and in age groups all the way to 35. The majority of those fatalities are to unrestrained and improperly restrained passengers.

    I used to ride unrestrained as a kid all the time. I survived. Many others didn't. Highway fatalties have dropped slightly over the years, despite the huge increase in vehicles and miles traveled. Fatality rates have dropped significantly since the late 60s. I'm glad I was never involved in a crash when I was a kid or I probably wouldn't be typing now... My kids have a much better chance and would probably survive some very severe crashes that the front seat passengers would not survive.
  • cpsdarrencpsdarren Posts: 265
    "If anyone should of gotten hurt I would of thought it would have been me or her dad up front thats the only part that got any damage but because the lap belt held and her shoulder belt didn't is why only her face and head got hurt on that handle on back of drivers seat.

    A faulty shoulder belt retractor is a possibility, but there are other possible causes for the injuries you describe. For example, some types of less common crashes, especially those with vertical motion like a rollover, can actually disengage some seatbelt retractor systems. Another possibility is a passenger who was not wearing a properly fitted shoulder belt at the moment of the crash. Most kids 4-8 [and some older] do not fit adult seatbelts very well without a booster or child restraint. Kids often circumvent an uncomfortable shoulder belt by slouching, leaning or putting it behind their back or arm. Correctly used boosters and child restraints can resolve these issues. Similarly, any slack in the shoulder belt before the crash could have led to injuries. Anything from a retractor with low tension to a shoulder belt that got caught in a booster seat guide can be a factor, too.

    It is also a little unusual that lower abdominal injuries were not present, as these are usually the primary type of injury on someone restrained only by a lap belt in a severe frontal crash.

    "I don't think its a dirty secret you shouldn't talk about if seatbelts are not working but it seems some do. Any of you guys work for Dodge or something?"

    You asked a question and received many valid responses about how different types of seatbelt systems function. If you don't choose to believe them, then your best recourse is to have your seatbelts inspected by an independent expert. If you believe your seatbelts are defective, you should pursue a lawsuit and possibly save other children from harm if the defect is more than an isolated failure.

    In that you seem not to trust responses here, I think you would be best served by directing future questions about defects to a lawyer, crash reconstructionist or forensic engineer with expertise in this area. At the very least, you won't have to worry that they are working for Dodge. Plus, they could quickly determine if a faulty retractor was responsible for the injuries or not. A simple tug on the shoulder belt is NOT a conclusive test. You should consult an expert in person if you have doubts or do not understand the issues involved.
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